Jordan Peterson debate on the gender pay gap, campus protests and postmodernism
"To be able to think, you have to risk being offensive."
A professor's refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns, and the vicious campus war that followed
On September 27, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson posted a video titled Professor Against Political Correctness on his YouTube channel. The lecture, the first in a three-part series recorded in Peterson’s home office, was inspired by two recent events that he said made him nervous. The first was the introduction of Bill C-16, a federal amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code that would add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination. Peterson’s second concern was that U of T’s human resources department would soon make anti-bias and anti-discrimination training mandatory for its staff—training he believed to be ineffective, coercive and politically motivated. “I know something about the way that totalitarian, authoritarian political states develop,” Peterson said in the first video, “and I can’t help but think I’m seeing a fair bit of that right now.”
Other profs in his position might have written op-eds, circulated petitions or negotiated with university officials. But Peterson is a big believer in the power of YouTube—“a Gutenberg revolution for speech,” he calls it—and, as it turns out, he had a lot to get off his chest. He carpet-bombed Marxists (“no better than Nazis”), the Ontario Human Rights Commission (“perhaps the biggest enemy of freedom currently extant in Canada”), the Black Liberation Collective (“they have no legitimacy among the people they purport to represent”) and HR departments in general (“the most pathological elements in large organizations”).
Peterson also said he would absolutely not comply with the implied diktat of Bill C-16, which could make the refusal to refer to people by the pronouns of their choice an actionable form of harassment. He believes the idea of a non-binary gender spectrum is specious and he dismisses as nonsensical the raft of gender-neutral pronouns that transgender people have adopted—ze, vis, hir, and the singular use of they, them and their. “I don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns I use to address them,” he said grimly. “I think they’re connected to an underground apparatus of radical left political motivations. I think uttering those words makes me a tool of those motivations. And I’m going to try and be a tool of my own motivations as clearly as I can articulate them and not the mouthpiece of some murderous ideology.”
A good number of reasonable people are also skeptical about the newly developed assortment of personal pronouns. How will all the new pronouns work in practice? How will we know what to call someone? And can people call themselves whatever they wish? This is new territory where the usual maps don’t apply, where some of the tiniest words in the English language can cause offence. But it’s a problem that, to my mind, can be resolved with little difficulty—just ask people what they want to be called. It’s not so different from learning how to correctly pronounce a name that’s foreign to you. Peterson seized on the pronoun issue, above all other free-speech-related matters that bother him, because it’s an effective dog whistle. It underscores the lengths to which people will go in the name of political correctness while exposing and exploiting the anxiety that already exists around trans culture.
Within days of going live, Professor Against Political Correctness had created the most intense campus firestorm since the University of Western Ontario psychology professor and race scientist Philippe Rushton whipped out his measuring tape. To many in the trans community, Peterson was a middle-age, white, tenured university professor—the very embodiment of patriarchal privilege—who was denying their existence, tacitly inciting prejudice and targeting an already vulnerable group to make a questionable theoretical argument. He was called a bigot, a racist, a relic.
On October 3, Peterson received two letters from U of T: one from the undergraduate chair of the psychology department, Susanne Ferber, and the other from David Cameron, the dean of arts and sciences. Both urged him to stop repeating the statements he’d made in the videos and comply with applicable human rights law. Student groups demanded Peterson apologize and take the videos down. Several of Peterson’s fellow faculty members castigated him on TV and online. A trans non-binary physics prof named A. W. Peet tweeted: “Jordan Peterson is an over-privileged blowhard who needs to grow some humility.” LGBT students said that, in the wake of Peterson’s videos, they were threatened and doxxed (their addresses and phone numbers published online). Peterson said his office door was glued shut by vandals.
Students on both sides of the argument took to the streets—or, at least, to the steps of Sidney Smith Hall. In early October, non-binary activists held a rally. A few days later, Peterson supporters organized their own rally, during which their opponents tried to drown out speakers with a white-noise machine. After scuffles between the two camps, a trans student was charged with assault.
The hostilities continued to play out for months in the media. Peterson gleefully watched his YouTube subscribers swell to more than 100,000. On his personal website, he linked to every one of the 180 articles published about him and the controversy he had launched. Peterson had already enjoyed a cultish following among U of T students. Now his fan club expanded to include a cadre of big-name columnists—Margaret Wente, Christie Blatchford, Conrad Black—and a chorus of vocal online extremists: 4chan and Reddit trolls; UK Independence Party supporters; Gavin McInnes, the Vice co-founder and head of the Brooklyn-based misogynist libertarian group Proud Boys. The attention seemed to embolden Peterson. On a panel on The Agenda, where he’d been a pundit for years, he vowed he would go on a hunger strike before letting other people put words in his mouth.
In his fervent opinion, the issue wasn’t pronouns, per se. It was much bigger than that. It was truth itself. Being told what to say—and by the government no less—was just one more step along the slippery slope to tyranny. The way Peterson tells it, the only thing standing between us and a full-blown fascist insurrection was him.
The spectre of political correctness has loomed over universities since I was at U of T in the early ’90s. The term was used then to attack everything from shifting standards of language—What, I can’t say “Oriental” anymore?—to new academic departments like gender studies, African-American studies, and gay and lesbian studies. Conservative politicians and scholars believed political correctness had led to cultural relativism, a disdain for the canon and misguided affirmative action. They were convinced that the zeal for plurality ironically created growing intolerance and the silencing of debate.
The hysteria around political correctness today is not so different, but now the debate centres on the idea that students are coddled, over-sensitive and entitled. Designated safe spaces and the desire for trigger warnings reinforce this notion. This has all happened amid a radical reframing of race, gender and sexuality. Transgender and queer people have never been more visible, and major protests against sexual violence and racism, propelled by social media, have given marginalized groups a much louder voice. Both on campus and off, it’s never been easier for activists to confront authority. The result has been an unending series of dust-ups over free speech and power.
Peterson characterizes the “PC game” like so: divide the world into winners and losers, insist that division is the result of oppression, and claim allegiance with the losers. And though I think such PC game-playing is relatively rare and these scenarios are not the harbinger of doom that Peterson sees them as, you can find examples almost everywhere. A couple of years ago, students at Oberlin College in Ohio were ridiculed around the globe for complaining that the sushi and bánh mì served at a campus cafeteria constituted acts of cultural appropriation. It’s easy to mock such extreme, counterproductive pieties.
More recently, and more distressingly, queer film director Kim Peirce was verbally attacked by trans activists at Reed College during a screening of her landmark film, Boys Don’t Cry, for failing to depict trans life in a positive light (among other things). Closer to home, last November, the head of Ryerson’s social work department stepped down over murky allegations of racism directed against him by the Black Liberation Collective.
To Peterson, the patrolmen of the thought police lurk around every corner, most insidiously in the modern university. The academy, he argues, has been thoroughly corrupted by political correctness, especially the humanities and social sciences. “The education department is the worst of the lot,” he says. “It used to produce teachers and now it produces ideological activists.” In his courses, Peterson teaches his students to resist what he calls “ideological possession,” but his real work now, it seems, is to take those lessons into the wider world.
In early November, I met Peterson at his home, a cozy semi on a serene, leafy street in Seaton Village. The house is a warren of small rooms decorated with Peterson’s large collection of Soviet realist paintings—the immense canvases cover almost every wall—and bookshelves that Peterson built himself. He shares the house with his wife, Tammy, and their 23-year-old son, Julian, a web designer and programmer. They also have a 25-year-old daughter, a Ryerson student named Mikhaila, after Mikhail Gorbachev.
Peterson, who is 54, was barefoot, wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. He took me up to a recently completed third-floor addition, an unusual aerie modelled after a Kwakwaka’wakw big house and decorated with colourful carvings and masks by his friend, the West Coast Indigenous artist Charles Joseph. With its pale wood salvaged from his great-grandfather’s barn in Saskatchewan, it might have been the waiting room of a New Age spa.
Peterson sat in an armchair between a pair of floor-to-ceiling totem poles and spoke, almost without pause, for an hour and a half, as if I knew everything and nothing about what he was saying. He likes to joke that his voice resembles Kermit the Frog’s, and it does, kind of—if the Muppet had taken elocution lessons at a Vulcan finishing school. On the many TV appearances Peterson made in the months after the YouTube lectures, he was uniformly dour, unapologetic and supercilious. The person I met was not much different. Without prompting, he raged, with operatic scattergun anger against postmodernism, Marxists and—his favourite bogeymen—“social justice warriors.” It was the day after the U.S. presidential election, and I was still reeling from Trump’s victory. Peterson was unperturbed. He said Trump was no worse than Reagan and that the Democrats got what they deserved for abandoning the working class and playing identity politics. I was initially surprised—someone who spent a lifetime studying tyranny wasn’t maybe a tad worried about a president with such undisguised autocratic ambitions? But then I remembered that Trump, too, has long blamed political correctness for America’s ills, and reflexively used the phrase to dismiss any criticism he faced—everything from his treatment of women to his proposed immigration ban on Muslims. And, among many Trump supporters, “social justice warrior” is a favourite epithet used to disqualify his critics.
Peterson’s monologue ran on parallel tracks of provocation and paranoia. As in his videos, every compelling pronouncement he made (for example, how can you really measure racism?) was offset by another that sounded like a bad joke. He was bluntly contemptuous of feminists, something he returned to in a later conversation with me, saying, “The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.” Peterson is no Trump, of course, and not even a Trump booster, but it was the kind of thing I could imagine Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon saying.
Peterson’s friends told me he can be “fun” and “funny,” and watching videos of him lecturing years or even months before the controversy, I could see he was relaxed and avuncular. But in the three times we talked, I think he smiled maybe twice. Describing his own personality, he said that he was “pretty agreeable, all things considered.”
Until he posted those YouTube lectures, he had been a popular but low-profile academic. He was born in 1962 and grew up in Fairview, a small town about five hours northwest of Edmonton. His father, Walter, was a schoolteacher and vice-principal; his mother, Beverley, worked as a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie College. Peterson was the eldest of three kids, and his childhood was, unsurprisingly, bookish. He learned to read at the age of three, he says.
Peterson’s ample ego formed early. One of his first memories is watching Robert Kennedy’s funeral on TV and thinking, I’ll have a funeral like that one day. When he was 13, his school librarian was Sandy Notley, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s mother, and she introduced him to George Orwell, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Ayn Rand. He worked for the NDP throughout most of his teenage years. While he admired leaders like Ed Broadbent, he became disillusioned by the party’s peevish functionaries. He found Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, which he read as an undergrad at Grand Prairie, enlightening: “Orwell did a political-psychological analysis of the motivations of the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist and concluded that people like that didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich,” he says. “I thought, Aha! That’s it: it’s resentment.” Anyone who set out to change the world by first changing other people was suspicious.
He finished undergrad at the University of Alberta, first studying political science and then psychology. In Peterson’s retelling, he endured psychic turmoil like other students suffer hangovers. He became obsessed with the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, and, for a year or so, was haunted by apocalyptic nightmares. He became depressed and confused about the world’s—and his own—capacity for evil.
Literature offered both solace and solutions. He dove deeply into writings by those who would form his world view: Jung, Nietzsche and Solzhenitsyn. On his website, Peterson lists recommended books, a syllabus he could have compiled, for the most part, when he was in his early 20s: Orwell, Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky, as well as Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking. “Trigger warning,” he writes sardonically, “these are the most terrifying books I have encountered.” Number 13 on the list is one that Peterson himself wrote—Maps of Meaning, his attempt to untangle the roots of belief-based violence. Peterson began the book at McGill, where he completed his PhD, and worked on it for 15 years. Published in 1999, Maps of Meaning is a dense and difficult blend of psychology, mythology, philosophy and neuroscience. It’s akin to work by Joseph Campbell, maybe, rewritten by Steven Pinker. (TVO produced a 13-part series based on the book in 2004.) Simply put, it argues that the essential story of humanity is a complicated, codependent struggle between order and chaos. He claims we are governed by stories and myths (or maps), and ideologies are only incomplete, misleading and dangerous maps. To some, the fluidity of identity is liberating and joyful. To Peterson, an unstable identity is an invitation for chaos.
One night when he was at McGill, Peterson went to a Jane Siberry concert. The singer reminded him of his old friend Tammy Roberts. They grew up on the same street and went to prom together. By the time Peterson was at McGill, she was in Ottawa, pursuing a kinesiology degree. He invited her to Montreal for Thanksgiving. Soon after, they moved in together. Peterson proposed to her three times before they finally married in 1989. “I thought, If I don’t marry Jordan, I’m not going to know what he does with his life,” she says. “And he’s going to be an interesting person.” Tammy still kind of resembles Siberry—short hair, pixieish, with a yoga teacher’s muscle tone. She’s as warm as Peterson is imperious, and she’s deeply committed to his current project. Peterson refers to her as his “executive assistant”—she handles all his media requests—and she even came up with the anti–political correctness stickers he hawks in one of his infamous YouTube videos: they feature the letters PC in a circle with a slash through them.
Their first child, Mikhaila, was born in 1992. The family moved to Boston, where Peterson took a job at Harvard, then Tammy had Julian. Peterson taught psych at Harvard for six years. When Mikhaila was seven, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and started showing signs of depression. Tammy, who had become an artist and massage therapist, put her career on hold to care for her daughter. In 1998, Peterson was offered a tenure-track position at U of T, and the family returned to Canada. At U of T, he was a swashbuckling, beloved professor—students regarded him as a kind of guru. For people just figuring out who they were and what they wanted to be, he offered a seductive bulwark of certainty. “There are perhaps one or two professors you’ll run into during your career who completely capture and captivate you,” says Christine Brophy, one of Peterson’s current grad students. “And he was one of them.”
Peterson calls himself “hyperproductive.” In addition to teaching his undergrad and graduate courses, he started a clinical practice—he now spends about 15 to 20 hours a week with clients—and built a battery of neuropsychological tests designed to predict academic and corporate performance. He followed that with the creation of the Self-Authoring Suite, an online self-help program designed to walk participants through creating a sort of mini-autobiography, then writing what they want their futures to be like. Tammy served as a guinea pig. “I outlined eight goals that I had no idea I was going to outline,” she says. “But it puts you in a dream state, and, when you write your goals, they come from somewhere inside you that you hadn’t scripted. I told him this would be the most important thing he ever did.” Peterson says about 10,000 students have gone through the program, and it decreases drop-out rates by 25 per cent and raises GPAs by 20 per cent.
As busy as he was, Peterson was also grappling with depression. He likened it to being impaled on a tree that’s “dead and black and frozen.” Tammy threatened to leave unless he went on antidepressants, which he finally did. But he still felt sluggish: he was sleeping all the time—most afternoons he would collapse on the couch for three or four hours. Mikhaila came to his rescue. A few years after having her hip and ankle replaced, she’d realized that eating wheat made her arthritis worse. She went on a six-month elimination diet, at first eating only chicken and broccoli, and both her arthritis and depression all but vanished. She convinced her dad to try the diet a year ago. Seven months later, in July, he stopped taking his meds entirely. By August, he says, he was 42 pounds lighter, and his depression had been alleviated. Tammy was amazed at the return of his energy. “He was a revolutionary on paper before,” she says. “Now he’s a revolutionary in action.”
In 2014, Peterson began an academic study with grad student Christine Brophy about the relationship between political belief and personality. It morphed into a study of political correctness (or, more precisely, the politically correct). They compiled a list of 200 statements, including: “Safe spaces are necessary to promote diversity of perspective,” “Feathered headdresses should be banned at music festivals,” and “Police brutality is racial in nature.” They then produced an online multiple-choice questionnaire in which they asked people how much they agreed with each statement. They gave the questionnaire to about 360 people in an initial study, then to more than a thousand in a second.
Peterson and Brophy concluded that political correctness exists in two forms, which they call PC-Egalitarianism and PC-Authoritarianism. Simply put, PC-Egalitarians are classic liberals who advocate for more democratic governance and equality. PC-Authoritarians are, according to Brophy, “the ones now relabelled as social justice warriors.” Both share a high degree of compassion. Extreme compassion, they believe, can lead to difficulty assessing right from wrong. It also can mean the forgiveness of all failures and transgressions by people viewed as vulnerable. “Any personality trait to an extreme is pathological,” Brophy says.
Like most psychologists who study personality, Peterson believes there are five core personality traits—extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism—and that these traits are universal across most cultures. The taxonomy is also gendered. For example, women tend to be more agreeable than men. The traits have both biological and cultural origins and, as Peterson is fond of saying, the biological factors maximize in places—like Scandinavia—that have strenuously tried to flatten out the cultural differences. Biology is, therefore, in a sense, destiny, no matter how much people may want to deny it. To his mind, arguing that gender is a social construct or a kind of performance or—as the Ontario Human Rights Code says—an individual’s subjective experience is just wrong. “It’s not an alternative hypothesis,” Peterson says. “It’s an incorrect hypothesis. That’s why the damn social justice warriors are trying to get it instantiated into law. They’re implementing a social constructionist view of human identity into the law.”
When such culture-war skirmishes flare up, university administrators have tended to confront the issues head-on. The liberal university is, after all, the exact environment where intense philosophical and political debates are supposed to take place. Last August, for example, the University of Chicago dean of students published a highly charged letter to the incoming class of 2020 saying the school did not support safe spaces or trigger warnings.
But U of T, it seems, just wanted the whole thing to go away. None of the professors I contacted for this article would speak with me about Peterson. President Meric Gertler’s office said he was too busy to do an interview. I spoke instead with Sioban Nelson, the vice-provost of faculty and academic life, who seemed weary of the subject. She argued that the university had no problem balancing its commitment to freedom of speech and its support for vulnerable groups or minority views. It was not an either-or situation, she said. Regarding Peterson specifically, she said, “The university has made it very, very clear, and has been quoted ad nauseam, that we do expect all members of our community, faculty or staff, to abide by the human rights code and to be respectful and supportive of each other.”
Peterson, however, kept poking the hornet’s nest. He requested that the university host a debate so the issues could be aired publicly. After much hand-wringing, the university finally scheduled a debate of sorts—they called it a forum—at the Sandford Fleming Building on November 19 at 9:30 a.m. The auditorium was full, despite the fact that his opponents boycotted the event and organized their own breakfast elsewhere. Like the university, it seemed, the trans and non-binary community didn’t want to engage Peterson any further. Alex Abramovich, a transgender research scientist at CAMH who boycotted the forum, argued that the controversy was fuelling a lot of hate on campus and that he was afraid to lecture there for the first time. A trans law student who had initially agreed to speak with me later demurred because my questions, some of which I had emailed in advance, were “triggering,” and he feared for his safety, too. From an outsider’s perspective, this kind of passive-aggressive absence can be frustrating. It confirms the worst stereotypes about over-sensitive activists. But I can see their point of view: why should their existence be up for debate at all? Plus, they were already victorious—the day before the forum, Bill C-16 had passed a third reading in the House of Commons and was on its way to the Senate.
At the forum, Peterson was pitted against Brenda Cossman, a U of T law professor, and Mary Bryson, a language and literacy professor at UBC. Wearing a pale yellow button-down and cowboy boots, Peterson gripped his lectern like a life raft, at times making his points through gritted teeth. Picture a middle-age Clint Eastwood in a remake of Dead Poets Society. To bursts of applause, he rehashed the arguments that he’d been making for months. Cossman said Peterson had misunderstood the law, and that it did not restrict his free speech—there was an extremely high threshold for determining hate speech, she argued, and refusing to use the appropriate pronoun would not meet that standard unless Peterson was also calling for genocide. Bryson, meanwhile, said Peterson adopted “rhetorical strategies more common to Breitbart News than a university professor.”
Peterson talked earnestly about how debate helps people refine and adjust their arguments, but, by the end, all the forum did was remind him of his own embattlement. As the morning wound down, he stared sourly at the crowd. “I have been denounced today,” he said.
In the days and weeks following the forum, Cossman reported that she received hate mail and physical threats, so many that she alerted campus police. “I have no doubt that Jordan Peterson really believes in free speech,” she told me, “but I can’t say the same thing for many of his supporters. I have received an overwhelming number of emails that essentially say ‘shut the fuck up.’ I just think, You guys are all for freedom of expression but only for the people you agree with.”
Peterson, meanwhile, flew to California a few days after the forum, where he went on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. When I caught up with him via Skype, he looked tired. After the forum, he told me, he’d convened a post-mortem with some friends at his home. A couple of them—academics he’d known for decades—had told him that, while they supported him, they thought he could be “more friendly” and “nicer.” The thought exasperated him. “I’m trying to formulate my arguments as clearly as I possibly can,” he said. “To get your words right is exhausting, and I don’t have spare capacity outside of that.”
In any case, he didn’t want to be nicer. Malcolm Gladwell, an admirer of Peterson’s, interviewed him a few years ago for his book David and Goliath. They talked about the big five personality traits, and Peterson told him that innovators and revolutionaries tend to have a specific mix of openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness. Crucially, innovators needed to be disagreeable. “If you worry about hurting people’s feelings and disturbing the social structure,” Peterson told Gladwell, “you’re not going to put your ideas forward.”
Last May, four months before Peterson posted his lecture series, he emailed the people who run the online courses at U of T to tell them he’d amassed about a million views on his YouTube channel. He thought maybe they could collaborate with him—give him a bit of money, lend him some production assistance, capitalize on it as an educational opportunity. They never got back to him.
Peterson didn’t need the university, it turns out. Through Patreon, a crowd-funding website, fans have pledged $12,000 (U. S.) a month in donations. The Self-Authoring Suite sells for $29.95 (U. S.) a pop, and he claims to have sold a good many of them. He now has a podcast, and Penguin Random House is publishing his new book, The 12 Most Valuable Things Everyone Should Know, later this year.
More ambitiously, he is thinking of starting his own private educational institution. His earnings on side projects are already set to exceed the $160,000 he makes at U of T.
He says he won’t retreat from his position on Bill C-16 no matter what, and he is willing to face the consequences—lose his job and his salary, be stripped of his clinical licence, be brought before a human rights tribunal. These are all possibilities, if distant ones. University administrators won’t speculate about what will happen to Peterson if he doesn’t back down, but the vice-provost Sioban Nelson told me the idea that tenured faculty can’t be terminated is a myth.
If, as Peterson insists, the academy has abandoned its commitment to the truths he holds dear, why not spread those in a whole new way? Like loudmouths on either end of the political spectrum, he has found a place—the Internet—where freedom of expression reigns. Peterson’s ideological compatriots are all over Twitter, YouTube and the comments section of his blog. He has a new army of adherents seeking guidance in a chaotic culture, and they are all too eager to engage—online and off—in the intellectual brawls on which he thrives.
“One thing about me that’s strange is that I will have impossibly difficult conversations with people,” Peterson says. “There are people who shy away from that. They let monsters grow under their rugs. Their marriages fall apart. They get detached from their children. They carry around resentments and unresolved conflicts. I’m not doing any of that. If there’s something to be discussed that’s difficult, we’re going to discuss that right down to the goddamned foundation.”
I blame it on the immigrants.
Remarks on the Way Forward for the United States Regarding Syria
Even the words used are disturbingly familiar.
In a rather long address, Tillerson provides a sanitized history of events in Syria, the US current aims there, and what they intend to do to achieve those aims.
But the United States will continue to remain engaged as a means to protect our own national security interest.
The United States desires five key end states for Syria:
First, ISIS and al-Qaida in Syria suffer an enduring defeat, do not present a threat to the homeland, and do not resurface in a new form; that Syria never again serves as a platform or safe haven for terrorists to organize, recruit, finance, train and carry out attacks on American citizens at home or abroad or against our allies.
Second, the underlying conflict between the Syrian people and the Assad regime is resolved through a UN-led political process prescribed in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and a stable, unified, independent Syria, under post-Assad leadership, is functioning as a state.
Third, Iranian influence in Syria is diminished, their dreams of a northern arch are denied, and Syria’s neighbors are secure from all threats emanating from Syria.
Fourth, conditions are created so that the refugees and IDPs can begin to safely and voluntarily return to Syria.
And fifth, Syria is free of weapons of mass destruction.
The Trump administration is implementing a new strategy to achieve these end states. This process largely entails increased diplomatic action on the heels of our ongoing military successes. Our diplomatic efforts will be characterized by stabilization initiatives and a new emphasis on the political solution to the Syrian conflict.
But let us be clear: The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge. Our military mission in Syria will remain conditions-based. We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011 when a premature departure from Iraq allowed al-Qaida in Iraq to survive and eventually morph into ISIS. It was that vacuum that allowed ISIS and other terrorist organizations to wreak havoc on the country. And it gave ISIS a safe haven to plan attacks against Americans and our allies. We cannot allow history to repeat itself in Syria. ISIS presently has one foot in the grave, and by maintaining an American military presence in Syria until the full and complete defeat of ISIS is achieved, it will soon have two...
Evidently, this is what Trump calls a non-interventionist policy.
Here is the new boss, same as the old boss.
Haley on Afghanistan
Six months after Baghdad declared ISIS 'defeated' in Iraq, we see terrorist bombings in Baghdad and new ISIS activity near the northern border.
Now, Nicki Haley yesterday announced (contrary to all media reports) that things in Afghanistan are going swimmingly for the good guys. She says that hopefully they will be setting up negotiations with the Taliban soon.
The question is will she be able to keep this up until 2020.
The Manifest Destiny of Western Culture
Since the end of WWII US administrations, Democrat and Republican alike, have been drawn to foreign intervention. This is nothing new as we have been drawn closer to our imperialistic instincts at different times, depending on circumstances or opportunities, throughout our history.
It's part of the culture many here bemoan as having disappeared. But when you combine the idea of 'American exceptionalism' with a Christian tradition that in the last 600 plus years has used the cross as an excuse for the rape of continents and the decimation of entire native populations, when you are unchallenged as the world's most economically and militarily powerful country in the world, it's not hard to see why as a government you might want to 'kill a commie for Christ' or 'save the world' whether it wants it or not.
The Tao of Quirk
There is nothing unique about Christianity and warfare.Delete
Recorded warfare goes back at least 6,000 years in Mesopotamia, modern Iraq. The Mesopotamians were polytheists.
In China, warfare has been recorded at least 4500 years. The various Chinese religions had nothing to do with Christianity.
Roman and Archaic warfare predated Christian Europe by a millennium. Remains of American Indian internecine warfare predates the Christian era.
The role of Christianity in warfare is long in Christian fighting Christian and only extraordinary in the 20th century in that it was industrialized and massive..
Mao was a Saint
There is nothing unique about Christianity and warfare.
I didn't say there was. I merely pointed out 2 reasons and 1 circumstance that IMO explain the US tendency towards foreign intervention.
If you want to dispute that (or anything else I put up above) let me know.
At your service.Delete
Under Donald Trump, the United States' global leadership rating has plunged to that of China and slightly above that of Russia
Trump's numbers were last seen in the final years of the Bush administration.
Trump has had frosty relations with the UK, Germany and China during his first year.
World confidence in the leadership of the United States has fallen to a new low, according to a poll by Gallup.
A total of 134 countries were surveyed to provide their thoughts on America's place on the world stage, with the latest poll showing a collapse in confidence.
(Anti-Trump protests in UK to attract thousands - even though US president cancelled journey)
The poll which first started more than 10 years ago, last found that under Barack Obama, the approval rating of the US stood at 48%, a number that has since been slashed to just 30% under the leadership of Donald Trump.
Replacing the US as the top rated world leader, was Germany, who despite their own recent political dramas, finished with an approval of 41%.
The Communist regime in China received a greater approval than the US, with 31% applauding the country under Xi Jinping.
Around half of the 134 surveyed countries saw their approval of the US tumble by at least 10%, with many of big falls coming from Europe, South America and Australia.
One of the sharpest declines in confidence in the US came from one of its closest allies – the United Kingdom, with a fall of 26%...
United Kingdom, where the cops were silent about the rape of hundreds of young girls by Muslims.Delete
...the place with no first amendment.
'Easy Meat.' Britain's Muslim Rape Gang Cover-UpDelete
LONDON -- Some scandals are so massive that they're simply hard to believe. As many as one million white English children may have been the victims of Muslim rape gangs, better known as grooming gangs, in towns up and down Great Britain.
Policy analyst George Igler says, "When you encounter an issue that is just so unbelievable, just so outside your frame of reference and understanding, the immediate human reaction is just one to not believe it at all."
Perhaps even harder to believe is that while there have been prosecutions, the British government has still not stopped this criminal activity.
Former Home Secretary and parliament member Jack Straw once said, "There's a particular problem involving Pakistani heritage men who target young, vulnerable, white English girls." He also said these Pakistani heritage men view white English girls as "easy meat."
This is when some shout 'racism,' but here are the facts: calculations based on convictions show that a British Muslim male is 170 times more likely to be a part of sex grooming gang than a non-Muslim. And there are no recorded instances of non-Muslims doing this to Muslim girls as part of a criminal enterprise. In one local jurisdiction, it was estimated that six out of seven Muslim males either knew about, or were part of, a grooming gang.
Igler says, "What you do not have is any example of non-Muslim men targeting Muslim girls for this organized form of abuse. So, the argument that this crime exists everywhere is not only false, but is being deliberately cultivated by the media and by the government inquiry that is kicking the can down the road."
Kicked that regime out of the United States, cuple hundred years ago.Delete
Left 'em with Canada, the subject of this thread.
Which means what they do in Canada and England, is done without US.
(Make America Obama Again)
Merkel, genius, Trump, idiot.
Maybe Quirk is a college sophomore posing as an old guy.ReplyDelete
Well, at least you give me some credit for reaching college. Unfortunately, most of what you put up here is grade school level.
No cigar for that effort, Quirk, not even a cigarette.ReplyDelete
Not even a wet cigarette butt.
There was little effort required. It flowed from my fingers as light from a lantern.
And the day I require approbation of any sort from the Bobbsey Twins will be the day I quit blogging.
Maybe a sheep posing as a human.ReplyDelete
A pair of old gym socks after an extra inning game.Delete
That is appropriate.
Somebody give Quirk a pair of old stinky gym socks after a 15 inning game.
Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal
The Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal has been described as the "biggest child protection scandal in UK history". From the late 1980s until the 2010s, organised child sexual abuse continued almost unchallenged by legal authorities in the northern English town of Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
It was first documented in the early 1990s, when care-home managers investigated reports that children in their care were being picked up by taxi drivers. From at least 2001, multiple reports passed names of alleged perpetrators, several from one family, to the police and Rotherham Council.
The first group conviction took place in 2010, when five British-Pakistani men were convicted of sexual offences against girls aged 12–16, but the ringleaders remained at large. Other major convictions regarding child sexual exploitation included one in 2007 of a lone male offender who "abused over 80 boys and young men". From January 2011 Andrew Norfolk of The Times pressed the issue, reporting in 2012 that the abuse in the town was widespread, and that the police and council had known about it for over ten years.[a]
The failure to address the abuse was attributed to a combination of factors revolving around race, class and gender—contemptuous and sexist attitudes toward the mostly working-class victims; fear that the perpetrators' ethnicity would trigger allegations of racism and damage community relations; the Labour council's reluctance to challenge a Labour-voting ethnic minority...
The mother obviously approved of the way the children were treated.Delete
They may be able to get Roy Moore to help on the defence team.
Roy Moore and Robert "Identity Thief" Peterson used the mother's permission to commit a crime against a child as part of their perverse version of MAGA.
‘We will prosecute’ employers who help immigration sweeps, California AG saysReplyDelete
“It’s important, given these rumors that are out there, to let people know – more specifically today, employers – that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office,” state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a news conference. “We will prosecute those who violate the law.”
Obey US Law, go to prison.
Quirk belongs in Cali.
Once again, you are blowing it out your ass, Doug.
Why would I want to be in Cali?
Hug up all the illegals and their enablers.Delete
• Chinese authorities shut down Marriott International's Chinese website after discovering the company listed Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Macao as countries.ReplyDelete
• Craig S. Smith, the president and managing director of Marriott's Asia-Pacific office, apologized for the incident in an interview with the state-run China Daily.
• Business Insider's Tara Francis Chan reported that Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson also released an apology.
• The hospitality company's global Twitter accounts have largely remained quiet since January 11, due to the incident.
Many of Marriott International's global Twitter accounts have stayed silent since January 11, ever since China accused the company of breaking its cybersecurity laws.
Chinese authorities previously shut down the hospitality company's Chinese website and mobile apps, after discovering it listed Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Macao as countries, Business Insider reported. Marriott managers were reportedly called in for questioning over the incident, according to The Associated Press.
Marriott announces 'rectification plan' to regain trustDelete
California Neck Stabber Was Illegal Immigrant Deported 7 TimesReplyDelete
I can't figure out how to swipe and paste on this damned Chromebookcer.ReplyDelete
My wife was able to get the sound up.
It is not a touchscreen, but my wife showed me how to scroll up and down using the pad thingy.
It is going back tomorrow unless Doug can tell me how to swipe and post.it
He was the culprit urging Chromebook.
Bless WAL MART and it's two week return policy.
I hate touchpads, I use a wireless (LOGITECH) mouse and keyboard.Delete
...hate laptop keyboards, also.
25 bucks for both.Delete
Bought a cheaper one that was crap.
You can afford 25 for a mouse and keyboard, right?
Will a mouse and keyboard allow me to swipe and paste?
I want to be able to swipe and paste some of Quirk's nincompoopery for posterity in case he should thinker better of himself and take it down.
Very rarely does Quirk think better of himself but it HAS happened !
If Rufus would ever pay me what he owes me I could buy FOUR of them !Delete
Robert "Stable Ignoramus" Peterson, you really are a continuing embarrassment to all the Elephants of the world.Delete
Jack "Dead Beat Dad and Self Confessed War Criminal" Hawkins you are a continuing embarrassment to all the fathers and soldiers of the world.Delete
Not a piece of " Fake News" about another of Mr Trump's "Best People".ReplyDelete
A Trump administration appointee resigned Thursday after CNN reported on his past use of racist, sexist, anti-Muslim language on the radio.
Carl Higbie resigned as chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a spokeswoman for the department told CNN.
Higbie declined a request for comment from The Hill
According to all the news on Hannity tonight the shit is really going to hit the fan soon for Mueller, Comey, Hillary and a dozen smaller players in the FBI, DOJ, AGs Office.....ReplyDelete
Gonna get interesting, and I got the time to watch it all !
That is what your entire life has come to, Robert "Incestuous Lecher" Peterson?Delete
That, and caring for my family, and developing real estate, and reading of all sorts both from the library and on the internet and talking with my friends the farmers and many others, going to some funerals and keeping to my diet, Jack "Wife Abuser" Hawkins.Delete
No one has ever fled from me in fear like your girl did you, right after "dropping the kid" in the USA.
Then immediately it was to 'a safe village' in Central America for her !
Who can blame her, except for the original mistake of getting involved with you in the first place ?
Did you use fists, or just slapping, along with the verbal abuse ?
Now kindly go away and leave me alone.
You are my hobby "Incestuous Lecher" and until you mend your ways, becoming both apolgetic and humble in your posts ...Delete
I will shadow and comment on your inanities and your genetically deficit bloodline from that shithole of Muzzi Appeasers, Sweden
21 year old Washington State Courgars football quarterback shoots self, leaves suicide note.ReplyDelete
He was going to be starting player next year.
Big shock and the entire area is in mourning.
Nice looking kid, seemingly had everything to live for.
No one can understand it.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.Delete
Just a week after President Donald Trump said it "seems unlikely" that he would sit down for an interview with FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, the president's attorney said Trump is "very eager" to speak with the special counsel of the investigation into Russia's potential impact on the election.ReplyDelete
During an interview with CBS News's Major Garrett on The Takeout Podcast, Trump's attorney Ty Cobb also said there are ongoing "active discussions" with Mueller's team about possibly setting up an interview but that there is yet to be a formal request for the president to answer questions. He added that an interview request from Mueller's team could be an attempt by the special counsel to get Trump to perjure himself by contradicting information gathered from other sources.
The "Stable Genius" is, it seems, easily confused.Delete
My Representative Raul Labrador just said on The Ingraham Angle that Americans will be shocked by what comes out next week.ReplyDelete
Seems the House Intelligence Committee is about to release some bombshells.
I wish Deuce would tone down Jack Hawkins for awhile by giving him the old delete treatment.ReplyDelete
There is not one person in the entire world interested in his blahboblahbob other than himself.
Attorney Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that Steve Bannon's consultations with the White House about his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee were "entirely reasonable."ReplyDelete
Bannon, who was President Trump’s campaign manager and senior policy adviser before falling out with the White House, was served immediate subpoenas Tuesday during his closed-door meeting with lawmakers after Bannon’s attorney said he would not answer some questions.
Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, said he believes President Trump will eventually appear with his lawyers for an interview as well. But he noted that Mueller has "ultimate authority" to subpoena anyone to appear before a grand jury and compel them to testify.
Speaking of 'fake news'...
Trump’s 'fake news' mantra a hit with despots
Leaders or state media in at least 15 countries use the president’s favorite denunciation to quell dissent, question human rights violations.
After winning the presidential election, Trump began appropriating the term 'fake news' to respond to any charge, fact, opinion, or assertion that didn't comply with his personal reality. It is Trump's go-to response and one popular with his base and now with despots and authoritarian regimes around the world.
Syrian President Bashar Assad brushed off an Amnesty International report that some 13,000 people had been killed at one of his military prisons by saying, “You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.”
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has complained of being “demonized” by “fake news.” Last month, with Trump laughing by his side, he called reporters “spies.”
And in a meta-moment in July, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro complained to RT, the Russian propaganda outlet, that the world media had “spread lots of false versions, lots of lies” about his country, adding, “This is what we call 'fake news' today, isn't it?”
And in May, the People’s Daily ran an op-ed with the headline, “Trump is right, fake news is the enemy, something China has known for years.”
The list goes on to Myanmar (which calls the Rohingya 'fake news'), Uganda, Somaliland, Angola, Cambodia and Turkey.
We now have a case where the leader of the free world provides aid and comfort to the worst of the worst among world leaders.
Fake news is giving Venezuela a black eye. If it weren't for fake news we'd know Venezuela as it really is: folks eating steak and eggs for breakfast, gaining weight to an unhealthful degree, the oil sector growing by leaps and bounds and unable to find enough hires even at the very highest wages in the world, people celebrating the Government in the streets, thousands of new 3 bedrooms plush apartments being built in all the barrios, life so good no one wants to visit Colombia or anywhere else....Delete
President Donald Trump announced the recipients of his so-called Fake News Awards, on Wednesday, his latest attack on the press that has drawn objections from within his own party.ReplyDelete
In a tweet, announcing “And the FAKE NEWS winners are . . . ” Trump directed readers to the GOP.com website, which is run by the Republican National Committee.
Trump said in a Jan. 7 Twitter message he planned to give out awards Wednesday to media outlets he claims are “the most corrupt & biased.”
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
I misread the Professor.Delete
"There is clearly a coincidence between Trump's election and the run-up in stock prices over the past year," Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research, said in a note earlier this week. "However, coinciding with Trump's victory was mounting evidence of a global synchronized boom.ReplyDelete
The S&P 500 rose 96 percent in Roosevelt's first year. It gained 33.5 percent when Truman took office and 34 percent after Obama was sworn in.
Obama took office in January 2009, less than two months before the market started to recover from the financial crisis.
The FBI and Collusion: An Inside ViewReplyDelete
See: American Thinker
28 year veteran of the FBI gives his views of how far we have fallen.
Whole thing is a farce.
To get an idea of the extent of the farce read article.
Oh how far far we have fallen....Delete
RELEASE THE MEMODelete
RELEASE IT ALL
LET THE HEADS ROLL !
The mouse works like a Windows machine, it does select, copy, and paste, although you could just as easily copy and paste randomly from the MSM and produce roughly the same result as from our local LambBrain.ReplyDelete
While you're waiting for your amazon order to get there, you could hook up your mouse from your windows machine.Delete
I am going to put my bumbling self to the task tomorrow.Delete
We may have a mouse and keyboard around somewhere.
That is where I will start....
Thanks for advice, I can sure use it.
Doug: Quirk belongs in Cali.
Quirk: Once again, you are blowing it out your ass, Doug. Why would I want to be in Cali?
Doug: Hug up all the illegals and their enablers.
Another example of the childlike logic of the elder Bobbsey Twin. Simplistic mewling from the island of Maui.
I can only ask that he cite examples of any time that I ever made excuses for illegal aliens, ever argued that they shouldn't be punished and/or deported. I'd ask the same for any sympathetic comments I mad on sanctuary cities. Or, any time, I suggested that existing laws shouldn't be enforced.
Now, it's easy to see why Doug might be confused. He like the other twin can't read a simple English sentence and understand it without drawing illogical assumptions and connections. The two lack the ability to take a simple statement and argue the point made without launching into peripheral jibber jabbering (the lingua franca of Doug and Bob World) on other disconnected matters.
I have argued for continued immigration into the US, legal immigration not illegal immigration into the US. I have argued against Trump's wall, the wall Trump described during his campaign, the one John Kelly said Trump was uninformed about and that his promises had evolved on, the same one Trump in effect today said Kelly was full of shit about. And I didn't object because I am against some form of wall. I objected because the wall, as described by Trump, was stupid, impractical and impossible given the physical constraints that exist.
I have also called bullshit on some of the bullshit posted her about immigrants and their levels of crime. I have also called bullshit on the bullshit I have seen posted here on refugees coming to the US, not refugees into the EU, the UK, Canada or any other country but rather refugees into the US.
From this, in the muddled minds of the Twins, I must be a supporter of illegal immigration.
At least we are consistent and not wandering all over the carnival like you !Delete
If you're against a fence or wall, you're not serious about stopping illegal immigration.Delete
Trump is not so dumb as to think we should have a continuous wall from the Pacific to the Atlantic.Delete
I'm making it a point to always be polite to The Quirkster and never call him a nitwit regardless of his provocations.Delete
I like "LambBrain"Delete
Now he's following the kiddies with hashtags!Delete
Damn, Doug, you prove my point. Again.
If you're against a fence or wall, you're not serious about stopping illegal immigration.
As I noted above. I'm not against a wall. I'm against Trump's wall or, to be exact, what he continues to say his wall is.
Last year, Trump said he was going to build a beautiful, 'great wall', 30' high, concrete and re-bar; and Mexico was going to pay for it. It didn't take long for that to change somewhat. He admitted that the wall needed to be see-through so they could track the drug dealers (can't recall if he said the windows would need awnings). He also said that there would be areas along the border with mountains and rivers where there wouldn't be a wall. And we can all recall that embarrassing phone call to the Mexican president where Trump begged him to stop saying Mexico wasn't going to pay it.
Since that point, the message coming from Trump's people has been different than that of the president.
The US/Mexican border is 2,200 miles long. The latest wall proposal, the one they are arguing about right now that costs $20 billion, calls for a wall about 800 miles long. Long stretches will have no fence/wall because of the mountainous terrain or rivers or other obstacles that would 'hinder' illegal immigration to the US. The people developing the plan are talking a 'wall' made up of actual walls, fences, physical barriers, and electronic surveillance. As John Kelly said, Trump was initially 'uninformed' about some things and has 'evolved'. Trump denied Kelly's comment saying nothing has 'evolved'. 'A wall is a wall'.
Therefore, either Trump and his team are at odds over what this 'wall' will look like or Trump is simply lying to his base again, something he is wont to do on a regular basis.
Confusing. Yes. But some things are clear. The wall will slow illegals coming to the US especially in areas where there are highs flows of illegals. It will not stop all illegals from entering the US. WRT national security concerns, it will not keep out anyone who is actually determined to get in.
If anyone thinks the wall will eliminate the illegal immigrant problem, they are not being serious.
Will the 'wall' help? Yes. Especially, in high traffic areas. Is it an efficient use of money? Hard to say. Would more money spend on additional electronic surveillance equipment and personnel (the border patrol is currently suffering a net personnel loss as agents leave faster than new ones can be hired and trained) be a more efficient use for a larger portion of that $20 billion.
As Trump says, 'A wall's a Wall'. The real solution to controlling the illegals will require a revamp of how we handle the illegals when they are caught, revised laws, more efficient judicial reviews, limiting the appeals process, doing away with 'release and flea' policies', more handing out of jail sentences and less handing out of airline tickets, etc.
And I didn't object because I am against some form of wall. I objected because the wall, as described by Trump, was stupid, impractical and impossible given the physical constraints that exist.
What part of those two sentences suggest to you that I am against 'a fence or wall'?
What I said was I was against Trump's wall for the reasons I gave.
And if what you are demanding is what Trump (not his staff or his chief of staff who all know what is possible) 'said' he wants for his wall then you are divorced from reality.
One bit of drama occurred in Iquique when a mounted police officer was thrown from her horse after it was spooked by crowds cheering the pope. The papal motorcade paused and Francis got out of the popemobile to check on the officer.ReplyDelete
On Friday morning in Peru, he will meet with President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and civil society groups before flying to the Amazonian port city of Puerto Maldonado, where he is expected to advocate for the rights of indigenous people and defend the environment against illegal mining and loggers.
It’s a theme that the pope, long a champion of indigenous rights and customs, waded into on Wednesday while celebrating Mass in south-central Chile’s Araucania region. It’s been the scene of often violent protests by Mapuche Indians, who claim their ancestral territory has been decimated by land grabbers, including the state.
Finally a little snow in Truckee.ReplyDelete